One woman, two women, hundreds of women...
It is not a feminist demonstration for the women rights. It is the Female Founders Conference by Y-combinator.
Women of different cultures and nationalities, different ages and beliefs, dressed in different styles and attires. All of them gathered together due to the one aim - launch or grow their businesses.
The Conference kicked off with a brilliant talk by Jessica Livingston (Y-combinator co-founder) on the role of women in business, qualities neccesary to possess and some insightful remarks on the rules of the startup industry. Combining charm and deep entrepreneurial knowledge, Jessica genuinely can be attributed to the one of most exciting women in business. Along with Paul Graham (YC founder), she is taking sabbatical this year, so, maybe, I heard one of her "latter before a break" talks.
Ooshma Garg, a young Indian woman entrepreneur with a well-grounded stamina and a sense of humour proceeded talking on her startup path. Being a graduate of Y-combinator 2014 cohort, Ushma shared what it means to be "in the trough of sorrow" and how many times it really takes you to fail before you are "at the promised land". Being an intrepreneur myself, I know what it is! Really know! While listening her full of adventures story, I felt like I was walking the same path, but in a different project. And I could remember each turn, each stone on my way as she does.. It took Ushma 4 hard & smart working years (my startup work formula), before her Gobble started supplying fresh and natural food to the whole West coast, feeding thousands of families.
My next favorite story was BellaBeat. Everything started with Love. A few years prior to YC, Urska Srsen's boyfriend talked her into moving to Croatia to stay and work with him. In a completely different field. She is an architect by education, he is an engineer. The product is a medical device. Yes! Do not think startup gets to live, because one knows everything upfront. It is not an IQ test either. It is the process of contunious learning and Observation, mistaking and revivals, falling and raising again. It is Commitment - you are passing to your team as a founder and Vision - you constantly carry and play in your heart. Being a complete newcomer to the startup world, Urska (and her boyfriend, now fiance) released an amazing technology, enabling women have healthier and more engaging pregnancy.
The latter inspiration came from two wonderful women: Russlynn Ali, CEO of XQ Institute and Laurene Powell Jobs, founder of Emerson Collective. The "XQ: The Super School Project", both of them helped bring to life, is aimed at empowering entrepreneurs and teachers, business leaders and administrators, youth and parents - to re-shape America's schools. Having received hundreds of applications across the US, these days XQ is announcing five U.S. schools which will advance to the next phase. With $50 million collective investments they will try entirely new educational approaches and challenge to turn into Super Schools in five years. You read it quickly, but just imagine, what it takes to push such a project!
Being myself in organization of various events of different calibre and hearing all range of stories there, helping startups to bootstrap their ways to success, fundraising for a cultural project in the pick of the crisis - I could sincerely felt what these women were passing through. I was truly amazed by these stories. True stories. Powerful stories. Impactful stories. Those, which I hope will be arising more and more.
PS. Thank you Y-combinator for such a fantastic event! I enjoyed your brand T-shirts, too.